The New England Patriots will officially bring back their red throwback jerseys in 2022, meaning that the classic red-and-white look will make its comeback after a 10-year hiatus. The team, of course, wore that same outfit for more than 30 seasons between 1960 and a redesign in 1993.
Since that change from Pat Patriot to so-called Flying Elvis, the Patriots have only sporadically gone back to wearing their traditional red, white and blue outfits. When they did, however, they usually were quite successful: New England is 9-3 all-time wearing throwbacks.
Let’s take a brief trip down memory lane.
1994 at Cincinnati Bengals: Just one year after its major design overhaul, New England brought Pat Patriot back as part of the NFL’s 75th anniversary celebrations. The first of three games that featured the throwback look saw the team beat Cincinnati 31-28 — thanks in part to a defense that registered seven sacks and a four-field goal performance from kicker Matt Bahr.
1994 vs. Green Bay Packers: Two weeks after the Bengals game, New England was able beat the Packers at home 17-16. Down two points with only 1:14 left in the game, Drew Bledsoe engineered an 11-play drive that ended with a last-second field goal by Bahr from 33 yards out.
1994 at New York Jets: The Patriots’ throwback record dropped to 2-1 in Week 7 versus the Jets. Despite a solid defensive performance, the team was doomed by its four giveaways and an additional four turnovers on downs. New England lost 24-17.
2002 at Detroit Lions: After a seven-year break, the Patriots brought their old school look back for a Thanksgiving game in Detroit. Tom Brady was rather unspectacular, throwing for 201 yards and an interception, but the defense stole the show: Willie McGinest, Bobby Hamilton and Tedy Bruschi all recorded interceptions, with Bruschi returning his 27 yards for a touchdown. New England won 20-12.
2009 vs. Buffalo Bills: Another six years had to pass before the throwbacks were brought back. And they returned in glorious fashion: a Monday Night season opener versus Buffalo that came down to the wire. The Patriots found themselves in an 11-point hole with 2:06 to go, but two Tom Brady touchdown passes to Benjamin Watson as well as a clutch fumble recovery by Stephen Gostkowski on a kickoff helped New England win 25-24.
2009 at Denver Broncos: The Patriots wore their throwbacks four times to honor the AFL’s legacy in 2009, including during an overtime loss in Denver in Week 5. New England took a 17-7 lead into the half but went scoreless through the final two quarters plus the extra period to lose 20-17 to the Josh McDaniels-led Broncos.
2009 vs. Tennessee Titans: One week after their loss to the Broncos, the Patriots blew out the Titans in the most lopsided game of the 21st century. The 59-0 point differential tied a post-merger record, while the Patriots ended up passing for 433 more yards than Tennessee’s -7 — an NFL record by 74 yards (!). Tom Brady threw six touchdowns and set a record with five scoring passes in the second quarter alone.
2009 at Miami Dolphins: The Patriots’ final throwback game of 2009 saw them suffer another defeat to drop them to 5-3 when wearing their classic look. Despite New England holding a 21-10 lead in the third period, the team allowed Miami to come back and win 22-21.
2010 vs. Minnesota Vikings: Randy Moss’ return to New England a few weeks after he was traded away saw him catch just one 8-yard pass for the Vikings. Meanwhile, he had to watch the likes of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Brandon Tate play pivotal roles in the Patriots’ 28-18 victory.
2010 at Detroit Lions: Tom Brady carved up the Lions’ secondary like a Thanksgiving turkey to the tune of 341 passing yards, four touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Wes Welker caught two scoring passes, as did Deion Branch. BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for a pair of touchdowns. On defense, rookie cornerback Devin McCourty recorded two interceptions. New England won 45-24.
2011 vs. New York Jets: The Patriots donned their throwback look just once in 2011, during a 30-21 win over the Jets in Week 5. The game saw New England jump to an early 10-0 lead and never look back, getting at least some degree of revenge for its home playoff loss the previous season.
2012 vs. New York Jets: While the second Patriots-Jets game in 2012 will be remembered for years to come — one word: Buttfumble — the first was an entertaining affair in its own right. The throwback-wearing Patriots won 29-26 in overtime, with Rob Ninkovich forcing and recovering the game-clinching fumble in the fifth period.
Obviously, the attire has no outcome whatsoever on any NFL game. Still, the Patriots’ track record when wearing throwbacks looks almost as pretty as those red-and-white jerseys themselves. In 2022, they will finally be able to add to that history.